There are generally two types of people looking for an Android TV box. There are those who just want to plug it in and start watching on their favorite apps without really having to do very much. And there are those who want to personalize it with their own skins, alternative remote control, specialized versions of Kodi, and more. These two types of people need very different Android TV boxes.
If you are in the second category, and you want a box that can form part of your personalized home media library, you might want to consider the Sunnzo X96Air as an affordable Android TV box that is up to the job.
Available for just $50, you get a lot of bang for your buck. You can pretty much install what you want and expect it to work, even if you want to watch in 8K. It also works on an open form of the latest Android operating system, so there are very few restrictions in terms of what you can do.
However, because it is not associated with one of the big brands, you will miss out on a few important things: access to Netflix in full 4K, voice control, and smart home integrations.
But if your plan is to create your own media library or to install Kodi, you’ll be very happy with the Sunnzo X96Air.
Let’s take a closer look at this box to decide whether it is the right one for you.
We are going to score the Sunnzo X96Air Android TV box 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for anyone looking for an affordable Android TV box that they can personalize.
For just $50, you get a very powerful machine with enough space to do a lot, and there are lots of options for expanding and customizing. It runs on a pure form of the latest Android operating system, and you will have no problems installing and customizing media library tools such as Kodi.
There are certainly more powerful machines out there, but you aren’t likely to find anything better than this at the price.
But be warned, if you are looking for a plug-and-play option that gives you all the bells and whistles associated with the latest TV boxes, then this box might not be it. While the box is powerful enough to give you 8K, you will be limited to watching Netflix in HD. Also, don’t expect voice control or any smart home integrations.
- Android 10.0 Operating System – the latest and most stable operating system that future proofs your device.
- Amlogic S905X3 Chipset – the new minimum standard for all Android TV boxes.
- 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of ROM – this is lots of space and storage for streaming.
- 2.4Ghz/5.0Ghz Wi-Fi and Ethernet Connection – make sure slow internet speeds aren’t interrupting your streaming.
- TF Card expansion and USB 3.0 – this makes it easy to expand your storage if necessary.
- 8K and 4K at 24 FPS and 3D – assuming you also have a TV that can support these qualities.
It starts with an Amlogic S905X3 chipset, which is the basis of most new Android TV boxes. But the Sunnzo comes with 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of ROM, which is about double what you get with more affordable Android TV boxes these days.
As well as coming with all of this storage built-in, there is plenty of capacity to expand with a TF card slot and USB 3.0 drives for fast transfer. Again, these aren’t features that you would necessarily expect on a box this affordable.
It runs on Android 10.0, the latest version of the Android operating system, which means that it should work smoothly with all the latest applications and gives your box a good lifespan (as it is not possible to upgrade to a new Android OS version).
It also runs a “pure” version of Android, with no overlays such as Fire TV, Google skin, or proprietary systems. While this might mean that the interface that arrives is less slick, you don’t suffer from any of the common problems such as restrictions on the apps that you can install and biased search results. Instead, you have the option to install your own interface skin and customize the experience to work the way that you want.
Most people who get this box will probably want to install a version of Kodi to manage their media library and get access to loads of free content. You have enough space here that you won’t be restricted when it comes to choosing the right Kodi build for you and customizing your configurations.
It is powerful enough that you should be able to watch pretty much anything, including 8K at 24 frames per second and even 3D, if you happen to have a 3D TV.
With this type of content, the biggest challenge can be sufficient internet speeds. This box has excellent Wi-Fi settings, with dual 2.4Ghz/5.0Ghz Wi-Fi, but you can also connect directly via ethernet to make sure you aren’t losing any of your bandwidth.
However, despite this, the one thing you shouldn’t expect is to be able to watch the likes of Netflix or Amazon Prime Video in full 4K. This is not because the box is not up to the task, but rather because these big streaming services restrict which boxes are able to access their 4K content. In theory, this is for quality control, but the reality is that, generally, only TV boxes from big names such as Sony, Samsung, Amazon, and Google can give you 4K.
So, if you pay for a 4K subscription to Netflix, and this is something that you want to watch on your Android TV box, you will need to go with something else.
What else don’t you get with this Android TV box? The main things that are missing between this box and more expensive boxes are voice control and the ability to integrate with smart home systems such as Google Smart Home and Amazon Alexa.
The box comes with a pretty good remote control, but you could replace it with another if you wish. You might be able to get some limited voice command working, but it won’t be anywhere near as effective as if you went with a Google or a Fire device.
Where To Buy
The Sunnzo X96Air Android Box is currently available to buy on Amazon for just $50. This is extremely affordable for what you get.
If you are looking to upgrade, the next step up is going to have a similar chipset and the same amount of RAM but more storage, maybe 64 GB. You can expect these to cost you between $80 and $100. But what they won’t come with is access to Netflix in 4K, voice control, or smart home integration.
If you want all of these things, as well as the ability to install Kodi the way you want, then you will probably have to upgrade to something like the NVIDIA Shield. They have a variety of models, but the most affordable that will do the job is around $130 on Amazon.
Planning To Install Kodi?
Are you looking at this Android TV box with the intention of installing Kodi?
For those who don’t know, Kodi is simply media library software. But, many developers that build add-ons for Kodi can get you free access to almost unlimited entertainment content. These add-ons scrape the internet for existing streams of the content you are looking for, and let you tap into the stream for no cost. So, you can get the latest movies or the latest shows from the proprietary streaming services.
Wait, isn’t that illegal? Well, yes. The theory is that you aren’t downloading the copyrighted content, and are just watching it, so you aren’t technically pirating the content. So, this type of activity may not be against the letter of the law, though it is fair to say that it does go against the spirit of the law.
For this reason, make sure you use a VPN to protect yourself whenever you use Kodi. You can find our advice for using VPN with Kodi here.
You can install Kodi yourself, customizing your interface, and choosing the add-ons that you want to surface the content you are most interested in. You can read our complete guide to installing Kodi the right way here.
But, if you don’t want to go through either the pain or pleasure (depending on your perspective) of spending hours configuring Kodi, you can download and install ready-made builds. This basically means you just copy the setup someone else has already made, and many Kodi developers have created and shared some amazing ones. Find our recommendations for the best Kodi builds here.
If you are looking for an affordable Android TV box you can fully customize the way you want, then the Sunnzo X96Air is a great choice. It is a very powerful piece of kit for just $50. It is ideal if you want to install your own version of Kodi or other media library applications and completely personalize your viewing experience.
However, if you are looking for something plug-and-play or to use with the mainstream streaming apps, you probably want to check out some of the other great affordable Android TV boxes that we have reviewed recently.
For Netflix in 4K for less than $50, check out the Amazon Fire Stick 4K or the Dynalink Android TV box. If you want a “fully loaded” Android TV box that comes with Kodi pre0-installed and customized to get you watching right away, then look at the XBMCMart Smart Android TV box for around $100.
Have you used the Sunnzo X96Air Android TV Box? What do you think of it? Share your thoughts with the community in the comments section below or via our social media.